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Great Salt Lake is at its lowest water level on record and continues to shrink. Utah Public Radio has teamed up with more than a dozen Utah organizations for the Great Salt Lake Collaborative, a group that has come together to share multimedia stories and rigorous reports about the lake and ways to protect this critical body of water before it's too late.

Utah releases third chapter of state water action plan

Industrial irrigation sprayers mist water over a field of yellow-green crops
Utah Governor's Office of Planning and Budget

Utah Governor Spencer Cox released the third chapter of Utah’s Coordinated Action Plan for Water on Wednesday, which aims to balance water conservation, agriculture and state growth.

The Action Plan is a collaboration between the Governor’s Office and the state’s Natural Resources, Agriculture and Food and Environmental Quality departments. The chapter released this week focuses on water conservation commitments to optimize the state’s scarce water resources.

Agriculture in Utah is a major water consumer, using approximately 80% of the state’s consumed water. In an interview with KSL last week, Cox acknowledged agriculture needs to do more to conserve water, but that Utah’s growth is putting pressures on water consumption as well.

“The problem in the Salt Lake Valley isn't farming or agriculture, right? It's the number of people that we have that are moving here. So it's different,” Cox said. “Every water district is very different in that makeup. But agriculture has to do more. And what we know is there is technology out there that will allow agriculture to use much less water.”

Technological advances, including automated watering systems, are expected to help Utah conserve water on the agricultural front.

Utah’s population is one of the fastest growing in the nation, with a projected 66% increase in population by 2060, according to a report released this year by the University of Utah.

This article is published through the Great Salt Lake Collaborative, a solutions journalism initiative that partners news, education and media organizations to help inform people about the plight of the Great Salt Lake—and what can be done to make a difference before it is too late. Read all of our stories at

Aimee Van Tatenhove is a science reporter at UPR. She spends most of her time interviewing people doing interesting research in Utah and writing stories about wildlife, new technologies and local happenings. She is also a PhD student at Utah State University, studying white pelicans in the Great Salt Lake, so she thinks about birds a lot! She also loves fishing, skiing, baking, and gardening when she has a little free time.